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how to make paneer


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Prep Time: 1 hours, 40 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total: 2 hours

Servings: 24

Cost: $0.87 /serving


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Step 1

Heat milk in a large nonstick pot (or dutch oven) over medium heat, until it just begins to simmer, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you feel a layer forming at the bottom don’t disrupt it, or try to mix it in. Turn the heat down, and stir without scraping it up.

Step 2

Mix 6 tablespoons vinegar with 2 cups water and set aside.

Step 3

Once the milk comes to a simmer, where you see active bubbles, and just about to boil, turn heat off and let stand 10 minutes.

Step 4

Skim the froth, or skin, and discard.

Step 5

Add the vinegar water, a little at a time, stirring very very slowly and gently, until curds start separating. You want nice big curds, so excess stirring, or vigorous stirring will break them apart and make them smaller.

Step 6

Let this cool to room temperature before straining, giving only an occasional stir. As it cools the whey will change from cloudy to clear with a slightly greenish hue. This is perfect.  (If for some reason, the curds and whey are not separating, stir in more vinegar, a teaspoon at a time till you see a separation.)

Step 7

Place a large double layer of cheesecloth (roughly 2 feet by 2 feet) over a large colander. You could place the colander over a large bowl to save the whey for other uses, if you like. Or just drain into the sink.

Step 8

Once the curds and whey have cooled, and whey is clear-ish, pour carefully, slowly into the colander. Let it sit and drain until most of the whey has drained. Rinse gently with a little luke warm tap water to remove the vinegar. Do not squeeze any water out, this will result in hard paneer. Just let it drain naturally. Gather up the four corners of the cheesecloth and tie them together, either hanging from a wood spoon positioned over a deep bowl – or hang on the kitchen faucet to drain in the sink. See photos above.  Drain for one hour.

Step 9

Gently unwrap paneer and place it on a thin tea towel or kitchen towel. With the heal of your palm massage it away from you, gently pressing down into the towel, breaking up the curds while allowing the towel to absorb more water. Sprinkle with salt and massage it in. Gather up the paneer into a ball, in the center of the towel. Fold the towel over the paneer into a neat and tidy square, roughly 8 x 8 inches, or an inch thick.

Step 10

Place a plate (with a smooth bottom)  over the paneer and press it down firmly and evenly until paneer fills out the square. Add a little weight to the top of the plate and place this in the fridge, on top of another towel to catch any remaining liquid. After 15 minutes, paneer is ready. Or continue to refrigerate, but remove the plate.

Step 11

Carefully unwrap and cut with a sharp knife.

Step 12

To pan-sear paneer, heat oil in a non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat, seasoning the oil with salt and pepper. Place the paneer carefully in the oil and let it form a golden crust. If it is sticking ( in cast iron), it means it is not quite ready to flip over. As the golden crust forms, it will release itself from the pan. Key is moderate heat.

Step 13

Enjoy! Use as you would crispy tofu!

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